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88JERUSALEM3168 1988-09-23 14:35:00 SECRET Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE INTIFADA:

Tags:   PINR PNAT PTER KPAL IS JO EG 
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O 231435Z SEP 88
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3548
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 JERUSALEM 03168 

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PINR PNAT PTER KPAL IS JO EG
SUBJECT: FUNDAMENTALISM AND THE INTIFADA:
DEFINING THE ISSUES

REFS: A) STATE 303639, B) JERUSALEM 3004



1. S - ENTIRE TEXT.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY


--------------------------





2. ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM IS POSING AN
INCREASING CHALLENGE TO SECULAR NATIONALIST
PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS ON THE WEST BANK.
RECENT WEEKS HAVE SEEN DIRECT CHALLENGES BY THE
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD-CREATED GROUP "HAMAS" TO THE
PLO/UNIFIED NATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF THE UPRISING
(UNLU) WHICH CURRENTLY LEADS THE UPRISING. THIS
CHALLENGE, WHICH HAS MET WITH MIXED SUCCESS, HAS
TAKEN THE FORM OF LEAFLETS CRITICAL OF UNLU AND
THE PLO, ATTEMPTS TO IMPOSE ALTERNATIVE STRIKE
DAYS, AND EVEN CLASHES IN CERTAIN LOCALITIES.
THUS FAR, HAMAS HAS DEMONSTRATED STRENGTH IN
THOSE AREAS WHERE EXISTING ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS
HAVE WIDESPREAD POPULAR SUPPORT: NABLUS AND THE
NORTHERN WEST BANK, WHERE IT SEEMS TO BE BEST
ORGANIZED; THE RAMALLAH-EL BIREH AREA; AND
HEBRON. ITS ATTEMPTS TO MAKE INROADS INTO THE
CHRISTIAN ENCLAVE OF BETHLEHEM-BEIT JALA-BEIT
SAHOUR HAVE BEEN RESISTED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS.
HAMAS REMAINS WEAK IN COSMOPOLITAN EAST
JERUSALEM. WHATEVER THE CURRENT ACTUAL STRENGTH
OF HAMAS--AND ESTIMATES VARY WIDELY--IT HAS
SUCCEEDED IN BECOMING A FACTOR TO BE RECKONED
WITH IN CONSIDERING THE FUTURE OF THE INTIFADA
ON THE WEST BANK.



3. HAMAS IS NOT THE ONLY MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALIST
GROUP FUNCTIONING ON THE WEST BANK. THE FATAH-
AFFILIATED "ISLAMIC JIHAD"--NOT TO BE CONFUSED
WITH THE SHIITE GROUP OF THE SAME NAME FOUND IN
LEBANON AND ELSEWHERE--WAS CRIPPLED BY THE
KILLING OF THREE SENIOR LEADERS IN CYPRUS. IT
HAS NOT RECOVERED TO ESTABLISH ITSELF AS AN
INDEPENDENT PLAYER IN THE STRUGGLE FOR THE
HEARTS AND MINDS OF WEST BANK PALESTINIANS.
OTHER SMALL, SHADOWY GROUPS ALSO RISE AND FALL,
CREATING LITTLE MORE THAN A RIPPLE.



4. THIS REPORT IS ONLY A PRELIMINARY ATTEMPT TO
IDENTIFY QUESTIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY. ISLAMIC
FUNDAMENTALIST GROUPS ARE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO
PENETRATE; UNDERSTANDING THEIR INTERNAL
STRUCTURES AND EXTERNAL GOALS WILL TAKE MUCH
TIME AND PATIENCE. THIS IS A FIRST PASS AT THE
SUBJECT ON THE WEST BANK, BASED TO A LARGE
EXTENT ON CONTACTS FROM JERUSALEM AND THE
NORTHERN WEST BANK CITY OF NABLUS. WE HAVE LESS
COMPLETE INFORMATION ON THE SITUATION IN THE
SOUTHERN WEST BANK. GAZA HAS ITS OWN PATTERN OF
ISLAMIC POLITICS. WE WOULD WELCOME INFORMATION
FROM CAIRO AND AMMAN ON EGYPTIAN AND JORDANIAN
ISLAMIC POLITICAL TIES WITH THE OCCUPIED
TERRITORIES. END SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION.

HAMAS--BACKGROUND AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEW


--------------------------





5. HAMAS IS A CREATION OF THE MUSLIM
BROTHERHOOD (MB), WITH TIES TO THE MB THROUGHOUT
THE ISLAMIC WORLD. THE NAME "HAMAS" WAS
APPARENTLY CHOSEN IN FEBRUARY 1988, BUT NOT USED
EXTENSIVELY UNTIL MAY. AN ACRONYM FOR "ISLAMIC
RESISTANCE MOVEMENT," THE WORD ITSELF IS ARABIC
FOR "ZEALOTS."



6. ALTHOUGH PALESTINIANS IN CERTAIN PARTS OF
THE WEST BANK HAVE STRONG ISLAMIC CONVICTIONS,
THEY TEND TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES POLITICALLY IN
SECULAR TERMS. ISLAM HAS, HOWEVER, PLAYED A
ROLE IN WEST BANK POLITICS SINCE THE LATE 1940S,
WHEN THE MB FIRST CAME TO THE WEST BANK. THE MB
WAS SHORTLY AFTER DISCREDITED IN THE EYES OF
PALESTINIANS BY ITS SUPPORT FOR KING HUSSEIN IN
HIS POWER STRUGGLE AGAINST PM NABULSI IN THE
MID-50S. DURING JORDANIAN RULE, IT WAS TIGHTLY
MONITORED BY JORDANIAN INTELLIGENCE AND DID NOT
GAIN SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE UNTIL THE MID- TO
LATE-70S, PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTHERN WEST BANK.



7. IN 1976, M0 SUPPORTERS ATTACKED AND BURNED A
NABLUS THEATER SHOWING AN "IMMODEST" PLAY. THIS
IS OFTEN CONSIDERED THE BEGINNING OF THE MB'S
EMERGENCE AS A VIABLE POLITICAL FORCE IN THE
NORTHERN WEST BANK. ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS
BUILT A POWER BASE IN AN-NAJAH UNIVERSITY, WHERE
THEY GAINED CONTROL OF THE STUDENT COUNCIL IN


1978. THIS SURGE IN POPULARITY WAS PROBABLY DUE
TO A NUMBER OF FACTORS: 1) THE RISE OF
KHOMEINISM IN IRAN, WHICH GAVE FUNDAMENTALISM A
BOOST THROUGHOUT THE MUSLIM WORLD; 2) THE
DISCREDITING OF TRADITIONAL ARAB LEADERS IN THE
WAKE OF SADAT'S TRIP TO JERUSALEM; 3) A LARGE
INFLOW OF MONEY FROM THE MB IN JORDAN AND EGYPT;
AND 4) THE DENIAL BY FUNDAMENTALISTS THAT THEY
BELONGED TO THE FORMERLY DISCREDITED MB--
INSTEAD, THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE "INDEPENDENT
ISLAMIC BLOC."



8. SUPPORT FOR THE FUNDAMENTALISTS AT AN-NAJAH,
AS ELSEWHERE IN THE WEST BANK, HAS EBBED AND
FLOWED ACCORDING TO THE PLO'S FORTUNES AND THE
STATUS OF FUNDAMENTALISM IN THE MUSLIM WORLD.
SECULAR LEADERS IN THE NORTHERN WEST BANK, AIDED
BY PLO MONEY, WORKED TO CONTAIN THE
FUNDAMENTALISTS AND REDUCE THEIR INFLUENCE IN
AN-NAJAH UNIVERSITY. THE FUNDAMENTALISTS LOST
CREDIBILITY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN THE PLO BORE THE
BRUNT OF THE FIGHTING DU8ING THE 1982 INVASION
OF LEBANON AND DURING THE PERIOD OF ARAFAT-
HUSSEIN RECONCILIATION. THEY HAVE GAINED
STRENGTH WHEN THE PLO APPEARED WEAK AND DIVIDED.



9. BY THE END OF 1987, FUNDAMENTALISTS AND
NATIONALISTS IN THE NORTHERN WEST BANK HAD
ACHIEVED AN UNEASY STATUS QUO MARKED BY
OCCASIONAL VIOLENT CLASHES. IN NABLUS THE
FUNDAMENTALISTS TENDED TO BE RESENTED BY THE
SECULAR COMMUNITY, BUT ALSOFEARED.



10. WHEN THE INTIFADA BEGAN, THE MB ACTED
DECISIVELY TO SEIZE A ROLE. SEVERAL FACTORS
CONTRIBUTED TO THE MB DECISION TO INVOLVE ITSELF
FOR SEVERAL REASONS. ISLAMIC JIHAD HAD WON
CONSIDERABLE PRESTIGE FOR ITS ROLE IN GAZA, AND
THE MB FEARED LOSING SUPPORT AND CREDIBILITY IN
THE FUNDAMENTALIST COMMUNITY. INDIVIDUAL MB
MEMBERS WANTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INTIFADA;
THE MB LEADERSHIP FEARED THAT IF MEMBERS COULD
NOT USE THE MB AS A VEHICLE FOR PARTICIPATION,
THEY WOULD TURN TO OTHER FUNDAMENTALIST OR
NATIONALIST ORGANIZATIONS. MB LEADERS BELIEVED,
THEN AS NOW, THAT THE INTIFADA WILL BE CARRIED
TO A CONCLUSION. THEY WANTED A SAY IN THAT
FINAL SETTLEMENT. FINALLY, THE MB HAD A
READY-MADE ORGANIZATION PRESENT IN THE WEST
BANK. ACCORDINGLY, THE MB CREATED HAMAS IN
FEBRUARY 1988 AND BEGAN ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE
UPRISING.

HAMAS--STRUCTURE


--------------------------





11. THE MB HAS ITS HEADQUARTERS IN CAIRO, WITH
A BRANCH IN AMMAN. SUB-BRANCHES ARE PRESENT IN
THE WEST BANK (NABLUS) AND GAZA. THE HEAD OF
THE MB IN THE WEST BANK REPORTEDLY IS NABIL
BUSHTAWI, OF NABLUS. OTHER KEY WEST-BANK
FIGURES FROM NABLUS ARE SHEIKH SAID BILAL AND
HAMID BITAWI.



12. THE RELATION BETWEEN CAIRO, AMMAN, THE WEST
BANK, AND GAZA REMAINS UNCLEAR, AS IS THE
RELATION BETWEEN THE NABLUS LEADERSHIP AND OTHER
AREAS OF THE WEST BANK. THERE ARE STRONG LINKS
WITH CAIRO AND AMMAN, AND SOME MB LEADERS MAY
HOLD POSITIONS IN JORDANIAN INTELLIGENCE.
APPARENTLY, KY DECISIONS ARE MADE IN CAIRO AND
AMMAN, BUT LOCAL UNITS RETAIN CONSIDERABLE
INDEPENDENCE OF ACTION. MONEY FLOWS IN FROM
CAIRO AND AMMAN, AS WELL AS BEING RAISED LOCALLY
THROUGH THE MOSQUES.



13. THE MB IN NABLUS REPORTEDLY CONSISTS OF
APPROXIMATELY 150 MEMBERS HEADED BY A 4 OR 5 MAN
COMMITTEE. THE LEADERSHIP CONSISTS OF MUSLIM
SHEIKHS, UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS AT AN-NAJAH AND
BIR ZEIT UNIVERSITIES, INSTRUCTORS AT THE
KULLIYET AL-DAWA (AN ISLAMIC COLLEGE AFFILIATED
WITH JERUSALEM UNIVERSITY, LOCATED IN BEIT
HANINA, NORTH JERUSALEM), EMPLOYEES OF THE
ISLAMIC WAQF, A SHARIA JUDGE, AND VARIOUS
MERCHANTS. THE "FOOT SOLDIERS" OF HAMAS/MB IN
NABLUS CONSIST OF DISADVANTAGED YOUTHS FROM THE
POORER SECTIONS OF THE OLD TOWN (CASBAH). THIS
NETWORK SEEMS TO BE STABLE--FEW ARRESTS, FEW
DEFECTIONS, FEW NEW CONVERTS.



14. THE LEADERSHIP MAKES USE OF THE MOSQUES TO
PLAN, PROSELYTIZE, INSTRUCT, AND RAISE MONEY.
THIS IS A MAJOR ADVANTAGE HAMAS POSSESSES OVER
THE UNLU, SINCE MANY ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS
UNIVERSITIES, CHARITIES, AND PROFESSIONAL
SOCIETIES THROUGH WHICH THE UNLU COULD OPERATE
HAVE BEEN CLOSED BY ISRAELI AUTHORITIES.

HAMAS--METHOD OF OPERATION


--------------------------





15. ACTIVITIES ARE CARRIED OUT BY TIGHTLY KNIT
CELLS OF AS FEW AS FIVE MEMBERS. OUTSIDERS
RARELY PARTICIPATE IN HAMAS ACTIONS, A
FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE FROM INTIFADA ACTIVITIES
IN GENERAL, WHICH DERIVE CONSIDERABLE STRENGTH
FROM THE SPONTANEOUS PARTICIPATION OF LARGE
NUMBERS OF PALESTINIANS. HAMAS ALSO SEEKS
MAXIMUM PUBLICITY FOR ITS ACTS. BEFORE A
STRIKE, FOR EXAMPLE, RED SPRAY-PAINTED
INSTRUCTIONS--BOLDLY SIGNED "HAMAS"--ARE IN
EVIDENCE THROUGHOUT AREAS OF HAMAS INFLUENCE.
AS A RESULT OF ITS PENCHANT FOR TIGHT CONTROL
AND PUBLICITY, HAMAS TENDS NOT TO COOPERATE IN
UNLU-ORGANIZED ACTIONS. IN NABLUS, FOR EXAMPLE,
HAMAS HAS REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN IMPROMPTU
BLOOD DRIVES ORGANIZED ON SHORT NOTICE BY
POPULAR COMMITTEES TO TREAT WOUNDED PALESTINIANS.



16. HAMAS USES DIFFERENT METHODS TO ENFORCE ITS
STRIKE CALLS, DEPENDING ON ITS STRENGTH IN THE
TOWN INVOLVED. IN RAMALLAH AND THE BEIT HANINA
NEIGHBORHOOD OF NORTH JERUSALEM, FOR EXAMPLE,
HAMAS FOLLOWERS REPORTEDLY WERE ON THE SCENE TO
ENFORCE THE SEPTEMBER 9 STRIKE. ALTHOUGH NO
CLASHES WERE REPORTED IN THESE AREAS, THERE HAVE
BEEN CONFRONTATIONS WITH UNLU SUPPORTERS ON
PRIOR OCCASIONS. NO CLASHES WERE REPORTED IN
NABLUS, APPARENTLY BECAUSE THE UNLU CHOSE NOT TO
TEST HAMAS' STRENGTH. IN THE PAST, HOWEVER,
HAMAS HAS FIREBOMBED CHRISTIAN SHOPS THAT SOLD
LIQUOR OR OTHERWISE DEFIED ITS ORDERS. IN
BETHLEHEM, TIRES WERE BURNED AND THERE WERE
CONFRONTATIONS BETWEEN HAMAS AND UNLU SUPPORTERS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE SEPTEMBER 9 STRIKE. SOME
SHOPS WERE INTIMIDATED INTO CLOSING EARLY.
HOWEVER, MOST STAYED OPEN. IN JERUSALEM, HAMAS
WAS NOT IN EVIDENCE, AND THE STIKE CALL WAS
LARGELY IGNORED.

HAMAS--RELATIVE REGIONAL STRENGTH


--------------------------




17. HAMAS APPEARS TO BE STRONGEST IN GAZA. IN
THE WEST BANK, IT SEEMS TO BE BASED IN THE
TOWNS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHERE THE INHABITANTS
ARE RELATIVELY HOMOGENEOUS AND HAVE A RELIGIOUS
BENT. ITS PRIMARY WEST BANK STRONGHOLDS, IN
DESCENDING ORDER OF INFLUENCE, APPEAR TO BE
NABLUS, RAMALLAH, AND HEBRON. HAMAS IS PRESENT
IN JERUSALEM, PARTICULARLY THE BEIT HANINA
NEIGHBORHOOD IN NORTH JERUSALEM NEAR RAMALLAH.
IN DOWNTOWN EAST JERUSALEM AND THE OLD CITY,
HAMAS IS PRESENT BUT WEAK, PROBABLY BECAUSE OF
THE COSMOPOLITAN CHARACTER OF THESE AREAS.
HAMAS IS TRYING TO INCREASE ITS FOOTHOLD IN THE
CHRISTIAN AREA OF BETHLEHEM-BEIT JALA-BEIT
SAHOUR, THOUGH THUS FAR ITS INTIMIDATION TACTICS
HAVE NOT PROVED SUCCESSFUL. (IN FACT, HAMAS
ACTIONS IN THESE CHRISTIAN AREAS HAVE LED TO THE
REAPPEARANCE OF HAMAM, THE "CHRISTIAN"
RESISTANCE MOVEMENT, WHOSE ACRONYM FORMS THE
ARABIC WORD FOR "DOVE.") WE DO NOT YET HAVE A
GOOD FEEL FOR HAMAS IN HEBRON, THOUGH WE KNOW IT
HAS BEEN ACTIVE. THE AUGUST 21 AND SEPTEMBER 9
STRIKE CALLS WERE OBSERVED THERE. IN ADDITION,
ITS INHABITANTS ARE KNOWN TO HAVE STRONG
RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HERE
AS ELSEWHERE MUCH OF HAMAS' STRENGTH DERIVES
FROM THE POPULATION'S TRADITIONAL SUPPORT FOR
ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS, RATHER THAN FROM A
CONSCIOUS DECISION TO CHOOSE BETWEEN HAMAS AND
THE PLO.



18. HAMAS IS THOUGHT TO BE WEAK IN THE
COUNTRYSIDE, WHERE THE MB HAS TRADITIONALLY
LACKED INFLUENCE AND ORGANIZATION, AND IN THE
REFUGEE CAMPS, WHERE SECULAR NATIONALIST
MOVEMENTS (FATAH, PFLP, COMMUNISTS, ETC.) REMAIN
FIRMLY ENTRENCHED. AN INTERESTING EXCEPTION IS
NEW ASKAR CAMP WHERE, BECAUSE OF THE ARREST OF
ALMOST THE ENTIRE FATAH LEADERSHIP, HAMAS HAS
BEEN ABLE TO MOVE IN AND ORGANIZE.



19. IT IS DIFFICULT ACCURATELY TO GAUGE HAMAS'
STRENGTH FROM THE SUCCESS OF ITS STRIKE CALLS.
HAMAS HAS CHOSEN ITS DAYS WISELY--AUGUST 21 WAS
THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTEMPT TO BURN THE
AL-AQSA MOSQUE, A TRADITIONAL DAY OF PROTEST,
AND SEPTEMBER 9 WAS BOTH A FRIDAY, WHEN MANY
SHOPS ARE CLOSED ANYWAY, AND THE BEGINNING OF A
NEW MONTH OF THE INTIFADA, AGAIN A TRADITIONAL
DAY OF PROTEST. THUS, HAMAS WAS CALLING FOR
STRIKES ON DAYS THAT PEOPLE CUSTOMARILY MARK
WITH STRIKES AND PROTESTS AND DID NOT ACT
AGAINST THE FLOW OF THE INTIFADA.


HAMAS--RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAEL


--------------------------




20. MANY WEST BANKERS BELIEVE THAT ISRAEL
ACTIVELY SUPPORTS HAMAS IN AN EFFORT TO DIVIDE
PALESTINIANS AND WEAKEN THE INTIFADA. THEY
POINT TO THE FACT THAT HAMAS OPERATIVES ACT
BOLDLY IN DISTRIBUTING THEIR LEAFLETS.
SHOPKEEPERS IN JERUSALEM AND NABLUS REPORT THAT,
WHEREAS UNLU LEAFLETS ARE DISTRIBUTED SECRETLY
FOR FEAR OF ISRAELI SECURITY FORCES, HAMAS
OPERATIVES WALK INTO SHOPS AND PRESENT THEIR
LEAFLETS DIRECTLY TO THE OWNERS. MAYOR FREIJ OF
BETHLEHEM CLAIMS THAT MEMBERS OF SOME WELL KNOWN
FAMILIES WHO COLLABORATE WITH ISRAELI OFFICIALS
HAVE BEEN SEEN AMONG HAMAS STREET GANGS IN
BETHLEHEM. FURTHERMORE, DESPITE MASSIVE
ARRESTS--AND THE PUBLIC IDENTITY OF MANY MB
LEADERS--RELATIVELY FEW HAMAS LEADERS HAVE BEEN
DETAINED. IN RECENT WEEKS, FUNDAMENTALIST
LEADERS HAVE GIVEN INTERVIEWS TO ISRAELI
PUBLICATIONS THAT WOULD HAVE LANDED SECULARIST
LEADERS IN DETENTION. WE BELIEVE THAT, WHILE
ISRAELI FORCES MAY BE TURNING A BLIND EYE TO
HAMAS ACTIVITIES, THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE
TO CONCLUDE THAT ISRAEL IS PROVIDING ACTIVE
SUPPORT.

HAMAS--RELATIONSHIP WITH THE INTIFADA LEADERSHIP


--------------------------

---



21. HAMAS' FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES, AS SET OUT
IN ITS AUGUST 18 CHARTER (REF B), PUT IT IN
OPPOSITION TO THE SECULAR LEADERSHIP OF THE
INTIFADA. ACCORDING TO THE CHARTER, HAMAS
CONSIDERS ALL OF PALESTINE AN ISLAMIC "WAQF," OR
TRUST FROM GOD. CEDING ANY PART OF IT TO A
JEWISH STATE WOULD VIOLATE THAT TRUST. HAMAS
OPPOSES THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION TOWARD WHICH THE
PLO SEEMS TO BE INCHING. IT OPPOSES THE
CREATION OF A SECULAR STATE IN PALESTINE, AS
CALLED FOR IN THE PLO COVENANT. INSTEAD, IT
DEMANDS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ISLAMIC STATE.
IT ALSO OPPOSES CONVENING AN INTERNATIONAL PEACE
CONFERENCE. AS HAMAS LEAFLET NO. 28 SUCCINCTLY
PHRASED IT, "NEGOTIATION WITH THE ENEMY IS
RETREAT AND CAPITULATION." INSTEAD, HAMAS CALLS
FOR LIBERATING ALL OF PALESTINE THROUGH
JIHAD--BOTH ARMED STRUGGLE AND PROSELYTIZING.



24. THIS HAMAS/UNLU COMPETITION HAS LED TO A
BATTLE OF LEAFLETS AND STRIKE CALLS. HAMAS
LEAFLETS EXCORIATE THE PLO--PARTICULARLY FATAH--
AND THE UNLU FOR CAPITULATING TO THE ZIONIST
ENEMY. UNLU, IN RESPONSE, ACCUSES HAMAS OF
SERVING ISRAEL BY DIVIDING THE UPRISING. AT THE
SAME TIME, UNLU INVITES HAMAS TO JOIN THE
INTIFADA LEADERSHIP.



25. HAMAS, TO DATE, HAS REJECTED ALL CALLS FOR
UNITY WITH UNLU. ONE EXCUSE OFTEN HEARD IS THAT
HAMAS WILL NOT SIT ON THE SAME COMMITTEE WITH
THE COMMUNISTS. OTHERS SAY IT WILL NOT SIT WITH
ANY LEFTIST GROUP, SUCH AS THE PFLP. OTHER
SOURCES, INCLUDING SOME CLOSE TO THE HAMAS
LEADERSHIP IN NABLUS, HAVE TOLD US HAMAS HAS
AGREED IN PRIVATE TO A TWO-STATE SOLUTION AND
WILL SOON JOIN NOT ONLY THE UNLU BUT THE PLO
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AS WELL. ACCORDING TO THESE
REPORTS, HAMAS IS MAINTAINING ITS PUBLIC STANCE
IN OPPOSITION TO THE UNLU IN ORDER TO STRENGTHEN
ITS ORGANIZATION.



24. UNDOUBTEDLY, THERE ARE CONTACTS AND EVEN
OCCASIONAL COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TWO GROUPS.
HOWEVER, RECONCILIATION AND/OR UNITY BETWEEN
THEM SEEMS UNLIKELY AT THIS TIME. HAMAS APPEARS
GENUINELY COMMITTED TO THE GOAL OF CREATING AN
ISLAMIC STATE IN ALL OF PALESTINE. THIS IS A
FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE WITH THE SECULAR
NATIONALISTS THAT CANNOT BE PAPERED OVER. IT IS
THEREFORE LIKELY THAT THE UNLU AND HAMAS WOULD
FORGE A PERMANENT ALLIANCE.



25. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAMAS RETAINS ITS FEAR OF
BEING COOPTED INTO THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT AND
BECOMING IRRELEVANT. THIS FEAR WAS ONE OF THE
MAIN FACTORS SPURRING THE CREATION OF HAMAS. IT
IS IMPROBABLE THAT THE MB WOULD SACRIFICE ITS
CREATION NOW, JUST WHEN IT IS GAINING ACCEPTANCE
AS A PLAYER. HOWEVER, SHOULD HAMAS FAIL TO
MAINTAIN ITS FOOTHOLD AND BECOME THREATENED WITH
EXTINCTION OR IRRELEVANCE, IT MIGHT AT THAT
POINT CONSIDER COOPERATING WITH THE SECULARIST
NATIONALIST LEADERSHIP OF THE UNLU FOR TACTICAL
REASONS.

HAMAS--PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE


--------------------------





26. GAUGING THE CURRENT STRENGTH OF HAMAS IS A
RISKY ENDEAVOR. IN MANY REGIONS OF THE WEST
BANK, ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS ARE HELD IN HIGH
REGARD, AND SUPPORT FOR HAMAS APPEARS TO DERIVE
MUCH OF ITS STRENGTH FROM THAT TRADITIONAL
RESPECT RATHER THAN FROM A CONSCIOUS CHOICE
BETWEEN FUNDAMENTALIST AND SECULAR OPTIONS.
NEVERTHELESS, HAMAS IS BEING TAKEN INCREASINGLY
SERIOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE WEST BANK. WHETHER
THAT IS BECAUSE OF ACTUAL STRENGTH AND
INFLUENCE, OR MERELY DUE TO INSPIRED
SELF-PROMOTION, WE CANNOT SAY. IN ANY CASE, IT
IS CLEAR THAT THE HAMAS PHENOMENON WILL BE A
SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN FUTURE CALCULATIONS.



27. ALTHOUGH ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM WILL REMAIN
A FEATURE OF THE WEST BANK LANDSCAPE, IMPORTANT
FACTORS WORK AGAINST IT BECOMING A PERVASIVE
INFLUENCE OR REPLACING THE SECULARIST STRAIN IN
WEST BANK POLITICS. WEST BANKERS AS A WHOLE ARE
WELL EDUCATED, MUCH TRAVELED, AND CAPITALISTIC
IN ORIENTATION. THEY ARE UNLIKELY WILLINGLY TO
TURN TO THE NARROW ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALIST WORLD
VIEW, NO MATTER HOW DEEP THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT
WITH THE PLO LEADERSHIP.



28. AS NOTED ABOVE, THE MB HAS HAD ONLY A BRIEF
AND UNDISTINGUISHED HISTORY IN THE WEST BANK.
IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT, THE INTIFADA ENJOYS
VERY WIDESPREAD SUPPORT AMONG WEST BANKERS, WHO
ARE GENERALLY OPPOSED TO ANY EFFORT TO DISRUPT
THIS UNITY AND THREATEN THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF
THE UPRISING. THUS FAR, PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN
FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE UNLU AND HAMAS, AND
SUPPORT FOR THE FUNDAMENTALISTS HAS BEEN
RELATIVELY COST FREE. IN A SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE
UNLU AND HAMAS, MUCH OF THAT SUPPORT COULD MELT
AWAY.



29. IN ADDITION THE WEST BANK, UNLIKE GAZA,
CONTAINS AN IMPORTANT CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. AS
NOTED ABOVE, HAMAS IS MEETING RESISTANCE IN THE
CHRISTIAN ENCLAVE OF BETHLEHEM-BEIT JALA-BEIT
SAHOUR, EVEN TO THE POINT OF STIMULATING THE
REACTIVATION OF A RIVAL CHRISTIAN GROUP. STILL,
HAMAS HAS EXTENDED ITS INFLUENCE TO THE LARGELY
CHRISTIAN RAMALLAH-EL BIREH AREA, PROVING THAT
IT CAN SURVIVE IN A MIXED CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM
ENVIRONMENT. THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER OF THESE
AREAS IS ALSO SLOWLY BEING DILUTED AS CHRISTIANS
EMIGRATE TO FRIENDLIER CLIMES.



30. NONETHELESS, DESPITE THE FACTORS WORKING
AGAINST THE SPREAD OF FUNDAMENTALIST INFLUENCE,
THERE ARE SITUATIONS IN WHICH FUNDAMENTALIST
STRENGTH COULD GROW TO THE POINT THAT HAMAS
WOULD BECOME A SPOILER IN ATTEMPTS TO BRING
PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS TOGETHER. ALTHOUGH
WIDESPREAD DECAPITATION THROUGH ARREST OF THE
UNLU LEADERSHIP IS NOT LIKELY, GIVEN ITS
OVERWHELMING POPULAR SUPPORT, ISRAELI EFFORTS TO
DO SO TEND TO PROMOTE HAMAS IN SPECIFIC AREAS,
SUCH AS IN THE EXAMPLE OF THE NEW ASKAR CAMP
GIVEN ABOVE.



31. WEST BANKERS ARE BOTH RELIGIOUS AND
NATIONALISTIC. THUS FAR, THEIR POLITICS HAVE
FOLLOWED THE NATIONALIST BENT OF THEIR CHARACTER
AND CULTURE. THEY HAVE SUPPORTED THE PLO
BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THE PLO IS THE ONLY VIABLE
INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED EXPRESSION OF
PALESTINIAN NATIONALISM. THEY HAVE THEREFORE
CONTINUED TO BACK THE PLO DESPITE MANY
DISAPPOINTMENTS, AND THE MAJORITY ARE LIKELY TO
CONTINUE TO DO SO. HOWEVER, SHOULD THE PLO FAIL
TO OVERCOME ITS IDEOLOGICAL DIVISIONS AND TAKE
INITIATIVES THAT WILL LEAD TO A POLITICAL
DIALOGUE WITH ISRAEL, THE UNITY OF THE INTIFADA
COULD BEGIN TO FRAY ONE CAN IMAGINE A SCENARIO
IN WHICH PFLP, DFLP, AND COMMUNIST ELEMENTS IN
THE TERRITORIES, WHO ARE NOW WORKING WITH FATAH,
COULD REVERT TO MORE EXTREME POSITIONS IN THE
ABSENCE OF A POLITICAL BREAKTHROUGH. IN SUCH A
SITUATION, THE SECULAR-NATIONALIST PRAGMATIC
CONSENSUS THAT IS THE DOMINANT FEATURE OF THE
INTIFADA COULD CRUMBLE, AND FUNDAMENTALISM COULD
MAKE SIGNIFICANT NEW INROADS, ESPECIALLY AMONG
DISPOSSESSED GROUPS. THUS, ALTHOUGH A
MASS-BASED FUNDAMENTALIST MOVEMENT IS UNLIKELY
TO EMERGE, THE FUNDAMENTALISTS COULD TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF GROWING DESPAIR AND SECULAR-
NATIONALIST DISUNITY TO FURTHER ITS POLICIES OF
CONFRONTATION AND REJECTION.



32. DESPITE THE AVOWED ANTI-ISRAELI INTENTIONS
OF HAMAS, IT IS LIKELY THAT THE MAIN CONTEST
WILL, FOR THE TIME BEING, BE BETWEEN HAMAS AND
THE UNLU. THE MB HAS TRADITIONALLY FOCUSED ON
ONE MAINSTREAM OPPONENT AT A TIME--THE WAFD IN
EGYPT, THE BAATH IN SYRIA. ITS CURRENT OPPONENT
IN ITS STRUGGLE FOR THE SOULS OF PALESTINIANS IS
THE MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE UNLU, FATAH. UNTIL
THIS STRUGGLE IS DECIDED, HAMAS IS UNLIKELY TO
DIRECT ITS EFFORTS PRIMARILY AGAINST ISRAEL.

ISLAMIC JIHAD


--------------------------





33. THIS REPORT HAS FOCUSED PRIMARILY ON
HAMAS/MB BOTH BECAUSE HAMAS IS THE MAIN
FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP ON THE WEST BANK, AND
BECAUSE WE HAVE SO LITTLE INFORMATION ON THE
OTHER ISLAMIC PARTIES. ISLAMIC JIHAD, THE ONLY
OTHER SUCH GROUP WITH A SIGNIFICANT WEST-BANK
FOLLOWING, WAS ESTABLISHED BY ABU JIHAD TO
ENHANCE FATAH'S APPEAL WITH RELIGIOUS MUSLIMS.
ALTHOUGH IT HAS IN THE PAST CLAIMED INDEPENDENT
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACTS SUCH AS THE OCTOBER 1986
ATTACK AT THE DUNG GATE, IT WAS DECAPITATED WHEN
THREE SENIOR LEADERS WERE ASSASSINATED IN
CYPRUS. OUR INFORMATION IS THAT ITS CURRENT
INFLUENCE ON THE WEST BANK IS MINOR AND THAT IT
IS INCAPABLE OF ACTING INDEPENDENTLY OF THE
MAINSTREAM FATAH ORGANIZATION ON THE WEST BANK.
IT SEEMS TO BE DOING MOST OF ITS ORGANIZING IN
WEST BANK PRISONS, WHERE A STRICT QUOTA SYSTEM
AMONG GROUPS IS ENFORCED BY THE PRISONERS. WE
HAVE NO FIRM INFORMATION ON LINKS BETWEEN
ISLAMIC JIHAD ON THE WEST BANK AND IN GAZA, OR
WHETHER THE TWO ORGANIZATIONS ARE IN FACT THE
SAME.

QUESTIONS


--------------------------





34. THIS BRIEF OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC
FUNDAMENTALIST ACTIVITY ON THE WEST BANK DOES
NOT ADDRESS SEVERAL ISSUES OF CONTINUING
IMPORTANCE, SUCH AS KEY FIGURES IN MB/HAMAS AND
ISLAMIC JIHAD; COMMUNICATION BETWEEN HAMAS UNITS
IN VARIOUS REGIONS OF THE WEST BANK, GAZA,
CAIRO, AND AMMAN; THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
ISLAMIC JIHAD AND HAMAS IN THE WEST BANK AND
GAZA; AND FATAH-HAMAS RELATIONS. WE WILL BE
EXPLORING THESE ISSUES IN FUTURE REPORTING.


WILCOX